We went to the bank. It was to be a quick trip. We grabbed lunch at the local McDonalds. Actually it was just a pit in the ground that had meat roasting over it: Soya. mmm...
It was just Isabelle, Max, Eric and me--we'd left the others at home with Faustine, a young woman we hired to help us with housework. We made it to the bank in good time and then we sat, and sat, and sat.
Three hours later I mentioned we needed to get back because it was time for Faustine to go, however; we still had not completed our transaction so Eric asked me to go by myself in a cab with Isabelle and Max who were reasonably quite restless. The kids and I walked up to the taxi stand and I asked every driver to take us to SAC (St Augustine's College). No one would drive that far out of the way for any price (it's not even that far, merely off the taxi route), but one agreed to take me to another taxi stand closer to campus to see if someone would be heading that way. When we got to that stand no one would take us home either. So I decided to walk a ways towards our house and see if we could hail a cab since I was feeling pressed for time at this point. This is when the wind picked up and thunder rumbled off in the distance and that was when I realized Eric still had our bag with our rain jackets we had so smartly packed.
Well we were able to hail a cab a quarter mile on just as it started to rain hard. The cab was packed and there were ten people in a car only slightly bigger than a geo metro. Isabelle and Max up to this point had been pretty excellent and were even compliant with sitting on the laps of strangers in the taxi. I was still hopeful that we could get a ride from the next stop for the last mile to our house but when we arrived we were unable to turn anyone's hearts to help us out even though I pleaded for the man to drive just a little farther on. It was hard not to feel a little bitter as I grabbed Isabelle and Max's poor wet hands and turned onto the road to walk home. And that's when it started to rain really hard-- and oh how the sky opened. Isabelle at this point reached her breaking point and just started sobbing, while Max just kept asking "why are we walking in the rain?" There were no shelters at all on this stretch of road. I knew we just had to keep on though it was terrible and cold and wet and windy. My heart was sinking when I thought how far the kids had to go like this and Izzy was acting like I'd have to drag her to get her to walk another step. I couldn't carry her because my arms were full with several loaves of bread. It is difficult to express the misery of walking on that road with two four year old children in flash-flood weather.
It seemed like we would never make it home when a woman suddenly came running from behind us floating her wide open umbrella in front of her. She came right up to us and hurried us all under the shelter. I have never been so thankful for any small action in my life. She smiled and hurried us forward encouraging the little guys with the word ashya, which means courage. She laughed at Isabelle's whimpers, and Max's squeals of delight at the drops falling off the umbrella and somehow we all inched together on for what seemed an eternity to the last stretch of drive before our house and then the rain trickled off and she sped us on our way. I had no idea who she was and I haven't seen her since but at that moment she was the face of Christ to me and I told her so. She laughed as she turned to go.
We knocked on our door to be let in, and after all of that, who was it that sheepishly opened the door? Eric.